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Tennessee Blues to stop covering OxyContin

A bottle of OxyContin pills.
A bottle of OxyContin pills. Photo: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, the largest health insurer in the state, will not cover the addictive OxyContin painkiller next year and instead will cover two alternative pills that are more expensive but deemed less likely to be abused, the Tennessean reports.

Why it matters: The insurer's decision is a direct response to the state and national opioid epidemic. Most people who misuse painkillers get the drugs through family or friends, not through their own prescriptions, according to federal data.